Fans of the Bobcats know that the offense runs through Antonio Campbell, but without Jaaron Simmons the ball would rarely make it to Campbell.
Now in his red shirt junior season, Saul Phillips’s point guard Jaaron Simmons is one of, if not the best passer in the nation heading into the 2016-17 season. Simmons finished the 15-16 season with 275 assists, over 110 more than second place Rayshawn Simmons in the MAC.
Simmons’s 7.9 assists per game placed him third in the country last season, and he was also 36th nationwide with over 36 minutes per game.
In addition to being the best passer on the team, Simmons was also the team’s second highest scorer dropping 15.5 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the floor.
He rebounds well for a guard, much in part due to his tenacious effort which allowed him to grab three and a half boards a game.
Defensively, Simmons is not very versatile, almost exclusively matching up with guards but he will play well against these smaller players. Simmons led the team with 29 steals in the 35 games a year ago.
At 6’1” 184 lbs. he came into Ohio a bit on the slender side but has since filled out allowing him to be above average driving to the basket. Simmons got to the line often last season, attempting over six free throws a game and cashing in on nearly five of those six per contest.
One area of his game that all Bobcat fans would like to see improved on would be his ball security. Although his turnover numbers are slightly inflated due to how much time he spent on the floor, Simmons coughed up the ball just under four times per game.
If Ohio wants to win the MAC, which is a very real possibility, Simmons will need to take better care of the ball and continue to pass well. The offense may live and die with Campbell, but without Simmons the team wouldn’t be nearly as strong.